Thomas Deliduka wrote:

> Actually this originally started ... with my question as to what
> to tell my JSP-loving buddy that PHP isn't an
> antiquated and dying language/processing system.

I have a proposal for the PHP gurus which should help establish PHP's
credentials as a serious tool with cutting-edge capabilities. I think this
may be important, so please bear with me while I outline the case...

Clearly, most of the current buzz is around OOP & Java. And even with the
stronger object model proposed for Zend 2, PHP will always remain at heart a
procedural language. So it seems important for the community to demonstrate
how serious projects can be accomplished with a procedural/relational
approach, as this is the strength of PHP.

PHP offers some very powerful features not available in traditional
procedural languages - such as:
- includes and variable includes
- variable variables
- variable functions and variable length argument lists
- smart loose typing
- the wonderful, all singing, all dancing PHP array

The problem is, how to make best use of this power? Because these are
innovative features, there is little guidance out there in the traditional

As most will be aware, the Big Thing in OOP right now is Patterns. In
essence, patterns are outlines of proven solutions to common issues. There
are patterns for program architecture, program design and for the
development process itself. ( By the way, an interesting source of patterns
for web architecture is http://www.martinfowler.com/isa/ , if you don't know
it). Clearly, a lot of people are finding patterns very helpful, judging by
the explosion of interest in the field.

Even in my own experience as a newbie self-taught hacker, I have found ways
of using PHPs features to accomplish in a few lines of code things that
would involve a mountain of abstraction using the Gang of Four OOP patterns.
It is obvious that you can cream things with PHP that are difficult in
Java/C++. Those of you with more education and experience than me must have
discovered a wide range of these techniques.

What I am proposing is that the PHP style gurus get together to produce an
evolving repository of patterns demonstrating the power of PHP. A good start
would be to demonstrate how some of the Gang of Four patterns could be
accomplished more simply in PHP. This could be hosted on PHP.org or
Zend.com. If the repository became a lively focus of community activity, it
could go a long way to establish the serious credentials of the language.

The PHP documentation is terrific for an open source project, but there is a
huge gap between understanding the syntax of the language, and understanding
how to unleash its full power. A repository of quality PHP Patterns would
help bridge this gap.

What do people think?

Geoff Caplan

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